Ahh, Piha. Ever since my first visit to its popular beach in 2014, I have considered Piha to be one of the most beautiful areas on the North Island. So when Taylor found a trail that would take us to a secluded beach slightly North of Piha, I was in. The two of us and his friend Elise jumped in his old Toyota Cielo Sprinter and headed out into the Waitakeres.
The Marawhara Walk, which leads to the White Track, is not the easiest to find. You have to just park on this random bit of grass here.
The path starts out by this small stream. There’s some nice flowering plants nearby.
There’s a lot of climbing involved on this track. You’d think walking from a beach to a beach wouldn’t require so many elevation changes, but when there’s a mountain in the way…well…good luck with that.
There’s also some wooded areas, where Taylor stopped to have some fun with a fallen palm frond.
The trail does require a couple of fords. I’m jealous of Taylor’s Vibram foot-gloves, as they seem to protect the feet and allow better grip than my sandals while still providing nearly the same amount of freedom.
The trail actually takes us over and around this peninsular bit. The elevation changes are absolutely worth the view you get! (I took the same photo with my phone camera, which does not do as good a job but does manage to make a bird appear, which is a pretty cool feature).
We’re pretty high above and North of Piha Beach at this point.
A bit more walking and we can see our objective! Here is half of White’s Beach…
…and here is the other half. Not particularly big, eh?
Part of the descent brings us through this cool and slightly creepifying copse of trees.
Upon reaching the beach, it’s already difficult to see the path back.
Yes, White’s Beach is a black sand beach. New Zealand’s place name style guide apparently declared the apostrophe as persona non grata some time ago, hence Bucklands Beach for the beach belonging to Alfred Buckland rather than Buckland’s Beach and Whites Beach for the beach belonging to Francis White. It’s inconsistent , though, as Piha’s own website calls it White’s Beach. While I wait for them to get their punctuation house in order, I’ll call it White’s Beach so it doesn’t sound like it’s an artifact of segregation from the 1960s.
There’s a lot of caves and crevasses in the rock surrounding the beaches. Taylor and I stuck our bags in this little hole to keep them out of the rain. It wasn’t pouring, but it was drizzling on and off and we didn’t want our things to get wet.
Having protected my pack from the light rain, I then waded out into the surf to take some pictures of the sea caves in the rock wall. I did not realize quite how deep the water got, so before I knew it I was chest deep! This was problematic because I hadn’t emptied my pockets first and my car keys were still in there. More on that later.
Taylor and I also walked around the South edge of the beach to explore the terrain over there. It was super rocky and not at all pleasant to walk on, to be honest, but it was cool to go exploring. I didn’t get any photos of that because after the previously-mentioned debacle I put my phone in my backpack and did not bring the Nikon. (Elise spent most of her time chilling on the beach; that’s her in the photo, not a corpse that washed up for Weekend at Bernie’s style shenanigans).
Eventually all good things must come to an end, so we got ready to head back. Taylor had planned this hike quite well and we had an alternate route back that would keep us from having to regain all the elevation we lost. But we still had a hill to cross, so up we went.
That hill did give us a great parting view of White’s Beach, however!
I also Zoomed and Enhanced a bit to check out the sea caves in the North rock wall.
The trail then goes into what from the outside appears to be a goblin hole, but is actually just a tree-covered walkway.
And as we emerge from the other side we are treated with this startlingly beautiful view of Piha Beach. I still maintain that it is one of the most gorgeous places on the North Island.
White’s Beach, thanks for the memories.
(The promised end to the car key story: My car has an alarm system which, when enabled by the key fob, can only be disabled by the key fob. My spare key fob doesn’t actually work to disable the alarm, annoyingly. After my keys took a drink, I was sure I’d be stranded with my car at Taylor’s place. But, miraculously, my key fob worked one last time before giving up the ghost. When I got home, I was able to disassemble it, clean it out, replace the batteries, and get it working again! But the state the old batteries were in was utterly dreadful, making me so grateful that the fob worked that one last time.)
Hope you enjoyed this trip! Join us next time as Taylor and I go hang out with some cows, find another beach, and I fall down a cliff to my death. See you then!